Visiting London for the first time can be completely overwhelming. What usually happens is you pack as many of the big attractions as possible into the short amount of time you have, jostling between Big Ben and Westminster with barely a moment to rest your head on your soft pillow at Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington. But the second visit is different and really quite special. You’re not in as much of a mad rush to tick things off your list and you can properly appreciate some of the smaller, less touristy parts of a city where you never run out of things to do and places to see. Here is a 2-day itinerary of those experiences you might’ve missed the first time round.
If you can drag yourself away from the pull of a Shaftesbury London buffet breakfast, you won’t regret it when you sink your teeth into Caravan’s pancake stacks. There are a few dotted around London, but the branch in Granary Square in Kings Cross is in a prime location by Regent’s Canal, so that you can take a lovely stroll after you’ve filled up on any of their delicious breakfast options.
After you’ve had breakfast, head towards the river and along the Regent’s Canal towpath. Walking for 15 minutes will fly by because there’s so much to look at along the way, especially some of the quaint little houseboats bobbing along next to the path. Most noteworthy to keep your eyes peeled for is Word On The Water, a floating book shop, and Camley Street Natural Park, a little barge-garden. Once those 15 minutes of walking is up, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Camden.
Camden Market has been around since 1974 and has barely stopped growing since then. Meander through the market, weaving between the stalls, admiring the sheer volume of things available to wear, eat and buy. Around every corner, you’ll find something new and exciting. Keep your eye out for Inhabition Coffee Shop for the most delicious caffeine kick to keep you fuelled for exploring and shopping.
Head back to the towpath and keep walking a little further. Just by the entrance to Regent’s Park, you’ll see Feng Shang Princess – a Chinese restaurant floating on the river. Today’s all about exploring the river! The Peking duck is so well-known and coveted that it requires pre-booking, so if you’re planning on using this guide step by step, get yourself on the phone in your Paddington Court Executive Room and secure yourself a taste sensation.
Not far off from the world-famous Carnaby Street, Bob Bob Ricard is waiting to blow your proverbial socks off! If the kind of luxury you’d expect from Shaftesbury London excites you, then wait until you find out about Bob Bob Ricard’s champagne button. That’s right – each table has a button that signals to your waiter that your bubbly is running low, and they’ll run to rectify that. This Russian-inspired European restaurant serves up food in their art-deco setting that will make sure that your second visit precedes many more.
Once you’re finished resisting licking your plate at Bob Bob Ricard, you’ll realise a very exciting fact: you’re in the West End, home to theatre of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re interested in watching a live orchestral performance, some musical theatre or even a spot of stand-up comedy, one of the many theatres lining the streets of Soho will have something for you.
The fun didn’t stop after the curtains closed last night, so brace yourself for another day of action-packed exploring. Today, head east. Yesterday was centred around central to North West London, whereas day two is all about embracing the rustic charm of London’s east end. Jump off the train at Dalston Junction and walk the short distance to Brunswick East for breakfast (with loads of great vegan options available). On Sundays, you can experience their yoga and brunch package. Make sure you try one of their smoothies.
Next up, head towards Bethnal Green. While it’s likely the V&A Museum and Hyde Park were high up on your list during your first visit to London, this version is basically the east’s offering. The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is a hidden gem – and within walking distance of the beautiful Victoria Park. This branch of the V&A is dedicated to objects by and for children, showing an interesting insight into the comprehensive progression of children’s toys and the influence of society on children’s playtime throughout history.
You won’t believe how close your lunch spot is to your V&A stint – just mosey across the road to Sager & Wilde, a product of esteemed London chef Michael Sager. From the outside, you might only see a railway arched restaurant but once you’re inside, you realize what an elevated, modern, chic experience awaits you. The British menu and wine selection are rustic and simple whilst still impressive and artful, inspiring you to make sure you’ve organised your next stint in a Paddington Court Executive Room.
Further along from Sager & Wilde in Bethnal Green, you’ll find the Backyard Comedy Club, which has been a pillar for the London comedy circuit for years. Tickets are available at the door, so all you need to do is turn up and get ready to split your sides from laughing. There’s a well-stocked bar and even a stack of board-games, so if you get there before the show starts, you’re sorted. Shows usually start around 7, so it’s the perfect start to the evening before having a late dinner on your last night.
Head to City Social by Liverpool Street for an elevated experience – literally. 24 stories up, you’ll find Jason Atherton’s modern British menu accompanied by a cocktail and a breathtaking view of the sparkling cityscape and particular the Gherkin building looking like a Christmas tree it’s so well-lit. This is not just a meal, it’s an experience.